Yet another excruciating weekend of Premier League action came to and as we saw 21 goals being scored. The League now enters the business end of 2014; the festive December period kicking in which will see a host of games coming thick and thin. While both the Manchester sides won, league leaders Chelsea dropped points away to Sunderland. Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham all secured important narrow wins while QPR won the ‘six pointer’ against Leicester City.
We take a look back to the action and come up with five things that we learnt as November came to an end
The tide is turning in Manchester United’s favour: There was no doubt that it was the Red Devils’ best game in the Louis Van Gaal era. The 3-0 thrashing of Hull City was almost the perfect spectacle in front a packed Old Trafford barring the hamstring pull suffered by Angel Di Maria. United were dominant and looked calm and composed with their effective passing. Ander Herrera hardly put a put wrong while Michael Carrick looked at his effective best. Wayne Rooney got on the score sheet while Robin Van Persie also found the net with a great effort. And you know Manchester United are playing well when Chris Smalling also scores.
Manchester City thump Southampton: Ronald Koeman has insisted that his side can finish in the top four but as Sunday showed in the 3-0 loss to Manchester City, the Saints need to hold their own in the upcoming games. The south coast club will face Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton in December, a tough round of fixtures which could effectively shape up their season. City however looked in great form with Sergio Aguero being unstoppable. Manuel Pellegrini’s side are 6 points off Chelsea at the top but the gap could shorten by the time we enter 2015. You never count them off, the Citizens.
Chelsea look tired and will with the fixture congestion: As I had pointed out in this piece of mine, Jose Mourinho tries to win every competition that he enters. Chelsea are in the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup and are expected to reach the semi finals where they face a two legged tie at the end of January. The Blues are also expected to make at least the quarter finals of the Champions League and the luck of the draw could see them reach the last four of Europe’s elite club competition. The fixture congestion is bound to take a tool on the side and it will be important for Mourinho to rotate his team to keep the players fresh. Chelsea played the same starting eleven 3 times in 7 days and looked out of ideas against Sunderland. They lacked, pace and width in the scoreless draw but Gus Poyet’s side missed glorious chances to grab a famous win.
Arsenal, Liverpool return to winning ways: Both Arsenal and Liverpool secured narrow but crucial victories. Danny Welbeck scored the all important header for the Gunners but Arsene Wenger’s side were lucky to see Saido Berahino fine header strike the bar at the Hawthorns.
Glen Johnson was the unlikely of goal-getter for the Reds at Anfield but Brendan Rodgers’s side looked out of ideas against Stoke City at Anfield. That doesn’t matter though as Liverpool needed a win somehow and they managed to hold on. The question is can they resurrect their season?
Tottenham win a classic, QPR still have life: Roberto Soldado finally scored, yes he did as Spurs beat Everton in a fantastic high tempo encounter at White Hart Lane. Kevin Mirallas arguably has his name on the list for the goal of the season contenders as the Belgian put Everton on the lead. Christian Eriksen restored parity minutes later but Soldado grabbed a superb goal as Tottenham finally recorded a home win.
Elsewhere, Queens Park Rangers beat Leicester City 3-2 at Loftus Road in a bottom of the table clash as Harry Redknapp’s side finally showed some grit and determination to hold on for 3 points. Newcastle’s winning run came to an end as West Ham beat the Tynseide outfit by a solitary goal. Burnley held Villa 1-1 as Swansea failed to beat Crystal Palace at home drawing the game with a similar scoreline.